Prevent getting scammed by "Call Microsoft Helpline" scam

Also Known As: possible malware infections
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Medium

"Call Microsoft Helpline" pop-up scam removal instructions

What is "Call Microsoft Helpline"?

"Call Microsoft Helpline" is a scam run by deceptive websites. It operates by tricking users into believing that their device is infected and they need to contact the fake technical support provided, in order to resolve the issues. Users should note that no page can detect threats present in their systems; therefore, any that claim to do so - cannot be trusted. This specific scam pretends to originate from Microsoft, however this is false. The aforementioned company is unconnected to "Call Microsoft Helpline". Few visitors to deceptive/rogue sites access them intentionally, most get redirected by intrusive advertisements or by PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications), already present in the device.

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The first thing visitors see is a pop-up window. The message within claims that their connection to this webpage is not secure, therefore they must sign-in. The background pop-up pretends to be a warning alert from Microsoft. This alarm states that "Malicious Pornography Spyware/Riskware" has been detected on the system. Users are urged not to ignore this alter and contact the fake helpline without delay. It is proclaimed that closing this page will disable users' access to the device in order to prevent further damage to the network. To further alarm users, the pop-up implies that some sort of unmentioned information is currently being stolen from them. The background states that the computer has been locked, due to it being infected with Trojan-type malware. This has allegedly happened due to the Windows activation key having expired. Supposedly, the users' information (usernames and passwords, banking details, messaging history/contacts) has already been stolen. To prevent further damage to their data and identity, the scam tells users to call the number listed. The sole purpose of such scams is to generate revenue for their designers. There are many ways how calling fake technical support numbers can harm users and their devices. These numbers can have high fees, even though it is often claimed that they are toll-free. It is also possible that users will be lead along through confusing directions, which will require them to pay for imaginary services. They may be instructed to purchase illegitimate and nonoperational software and/or tricked into downloading/installing malicious programs. In some cases, deceptive webpages cannot be closed by simply closing the browser tab/window. Therefore, the Task Manager should be used to terminate the browser process. However, prior to reopening the browser, it is crucial not to restore the previous session. If that is not done, the rogue site will be reopened as well (or the page that redirected to the scam - will redirect to it again).

As mentioned, deceptive/scam websites are typically opened by PUAs. These apps appear legitimate and offer a wide variety of "useful" features, though they are rarely operational. Instead of delivering on any promises, unwanted applications have many heinous abilities to generate profit for their developers. Content under this classification can cause redirects to untrustworthy and malicious websites. Some can run intrusive advert campaigns, i.e. deliver undesirable and harmful ads. Other can hijack browsers and promote fake search engines. It is not uncommon for PUAs to have data tracking abilities. They monitor users' browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and collect their personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and real-life personal details). This sensitive data can then be shared with third parties and end up being used for criminals purposes. Therefore, PUAs can not only cause various browser/system infiltrations and infections, but also lead to financial losses, severe privacy issues and even identity theft. To protect device and user safety, it is recommended to remove all suspicious applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name possible malware infections
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Scam claims that user's device is infected and they need to contact technical support to prevent further damage.
Tech Support Scammer Phone Number +1-888-901-0041
Symptoms Fake error messages, fake system warnings, pop-up errors, hoax computer scan.
Distribution methods Compromised websites, rogue online pop-up ads, potentially unwanted applications.
Damage Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft, possible malware infections.
Removal

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The Internet is full of scam/rogue sites. They tend to use social engineering and scare-tactics to push visitors into performing certain actions, e.g. calling fraudulent support numbers, downloading/installing/purchasing untrustworthy or malicious software, paying for fake services rendered, etc. "E.tre456_worm_Windows", "Norton Subscription Has Expired Today", "What is Microsoft Alert Your Data Is At Risk" are a few examples of other scams similar to "Call Microsoft Helpline".

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

PUAs proliferate via download/install setups of other programs. This deceptive marketing method of pre-packing regular software with unwanted or malicious content is called "bundling". Rushed download/installation processes (e.g. ignored terms, skipped steps, etc.) - increase the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled programs onto systems. Some of these apps also have "official" download webpages. Intrusive advertisements can spread such content as well. When clicked, they can execute scripts, designed to download/install PUAs without user consent.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Content should be always research, prior to download/installation. It is recommended to only use official and verified download channels. P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), free file-hosting websites, third party downloaders and similar sources are considered to be untrustworthy, hence using them is ill-advised. When downloading/installing, users are encouraged to read terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out from additional apps, tools, features and so on. Intrusive ads usually appear legitimate and harmless, however when clicked - redirect to unreliable sites (e.g. pornography, adult-dating, gambling, etc.). In case of encounters with adverts/redirects of this type, users should inspect the device and immediately remove all dubious applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate them.

Text presented in "Call Microsoft Helpline" initial pop-up window:

Sign in
Your connection to this site is not private
Username
Password

The appearance of "Call Microsoft Helpline" pop-up (GIF):

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Screenshot of the background pop-up:

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Text presented in this pop-up window:

support.Microsoft.com says:

** Microsoft Warning Alert **

Malicious Pornography Spyware/Riskware Detected

Error # 0x80092ee9

Please call us immediately Call Microsoft Helpline

Do not ignore this critical alert.

If you close this page, your computer access will be disabled to prevent

further damage to our network.

Your computer has alerted us that it has been infected with a Pornographic
Spyware and riskware. The following information is being stolen...
Call Microsoft Helpline

Screenshot of the background page:

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Text presented in this page:

Call Microsoft Helpline
Your computer has been Locked
Call Microsoft Helpline

Your computer with the IP address 191.84.29.41 has been infected by the Trojans -- Because System Activation KEY has expired & Your information (for example, passwords, messages, and credit cards) have been stolen. Call Microsoft +1-888-901-0041 to protect your files and identity from further damage.

Call Microsoft Helpline
Automatically report details of possible security incidents to Google. Privacy policy

Instant automatic removal of possible malware infections: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Spyhunter is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of possible malware infections. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Spyhunter By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

Quick menu:

Removal of potentially unwanted applications:

Windows 7 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 7

Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.

Windows XP users:

Accessing Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP

Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.

Windows 10 and Windows 8 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 8

Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen, in the Quick Access Menu select Control Panel. In the opened window choose Programs and Features.

Mac OSX users:

Uninstall app in OSX (Mac)

Click Finder, in the opened screen select Applications. Drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash (located in your Dock), then right click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.

PUAs uninstall via Control Panel

In the uninstall programs window, look for any suspicious/recently-installed applications, select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted application, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components or possible malware infections. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

Remove rogue extensions from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove potentially unwanted browser add-ons:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing rogue extensions from Internet Explorer step 1

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for any recently-installed suspicious browser extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".

Removing rogue extensions from Internet Explorer step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the possible malware infections, reset your Internet Explorer settings to default.

Windows XP users: Click Start, click Run, in the opened window type inetcpl.cpl In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows XP

Windows Vista and Windows 7 users: Click the Windows logo, in the start search box type inetcpl.cpl and click enter. In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 7

Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.

Reseting Internet Explorer settings to default in Windows 8 - accessing

In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - Internet options advanced tab

Click the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - click the Reset button in the Internet options advanced tab

Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - confirm settings reset to default by clicking the reset button

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing rogue extensions from Google Chrome step 1

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and remove them.

Removing rogue extensions from Google Chrome step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the possible malware infections, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the Advanced… link.

Google Chrome settings reset step 1

After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 2

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 3

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious plugins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing rogue extensions from Mozilla Firefox step 1

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions", in the opened window remove all recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.

Removing rogue extensions from Mozilla Firefox step 2

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with possible malware infections removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.

Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, firefox menu icon in the opened menu, click Help.

Accessing settings (Reset Firefox to default settings step 1)

Select Troubleshooting Information.

Accessing Troubleshooting Information (Reset Firefox to default settings step 2)

In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.

Clicking on Refresh Firefox button (Reset Firefox to default settings step 3)

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.

Confirm your want to reset Firefox settings to default (Reset Firefox to default settings step 4)

safari browser logoRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

removing adware from safari step 1 - accessing preferences

Make sure your Safari browser is active, click Safari menu, and select Preferences....

removing adware from safari step 2 - removing extensions

In the opened window click Extensions, locate any recently installed suspicious extension, select it and click Uninstall.

Optional method:

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...

resetting safari step 1

In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.

resetting safari step 2

Microsoft Edge logoRemove malicious add-ons from Microsoft Edge:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the three horizontal dots icon edge more icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Look for any recently-installed suspicious extensions, right click your mouse on these entries and click "Uninstall".

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 2

Optional method:

Click the three horizontal dots icon edge more icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), and select Settings.

Resetting Microsoft Edge settings step 1

In the opened tab, click the "Choose what to clear" button.

Resetting Microsoft Edge settings step 2

Click Show more and select everything, and then click the "Clear" button.

Resetting Microsoft Edge settings step 3

  • If this didn't help, please follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset Microsoft Edge browser.

Summary:

declining installation of adware while downloading free software sampleCommonly, adware or potentially unwanted applications infiltrate Internet browsers through free software downloads. Note that the safest source for downloading free software is via developers' websites only. To avoid installation of adware, be very attentive when downloading and installing free software. When installing previously-downloaded free programs, choose the custom or advanced installation options – this step will reveal any potentially unwanted applications listed for installation together with your chosen free program.

Removal assistance:
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove possible malware infections from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

Post a comment:
If you have additional information on possible malware infections or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity
Medium

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
possible malware infections QR code
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Platform: Windows

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